BUFFALO, NY -- Buffalo's recycling rate is one-third to one-half the national average because of City Hall's management of the program, Investigative Post has determined.
The city's program lacks the basics necessary for a successful recycling program: educate the public, offer financial incentives to further encourage participation, and enforce recycling mandates.
Add to these problems: The city hasn't hired a replacement for the recycling coordinator who left three years ago. The work is being handled mostly by a former clerk with no previous experience in recycling. He's a seven-time contributor to Mayor Byron Brown's campaign committee and the son-in-law of Bonnie Russell, one of the mayor's staunchest allies on the Council.
2 On Your Side's Ron Plants asked Mayor Brown to respond to the report. He says recycling is a priority for his administration. Brown also defended the hiring of the former clerk with the contention that he is now a special assistant to Public Works Commissioner and has actually helped to set up the new recycling program for the city.
Brown says the city is working on a revised bidding document to bring in a marketing firm to help publicize the recycling program.
Finally Brown also points out that last year the city's recycling rate was around five percent. But since the introduction of thousands of green recycling totes this year, it has actually increased to the 12 to 16 percent range.
An expanded web version of the story can be found here, at investigativepost.org. A follow-up story on recycling problems in city schools will air Friday on WGRZ.